tv BBC World News PBS February 24, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PST
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>> and now, "bbc world news." >> as rebels closed in on the libyan capital, the leader blames a drug-crazed to teenagers for the uprising. >> this is international terrorism. >> an international evacuation is under way. welcome to bbc world news. after the new zealand earthquake, more than 300 are feared dead. the space shuttle discovery takes off for the last time.
he is making another appearance on libyan state television, he delivered a short monologues by phone. to the west and east of the capital, fierce fighting has erupted. we are at the border with libya. >> deliberation is sweet and the celebrations go on. much of eastern libya now belongs to the opposition. >but it is still too soon to tak of victory. but the frustration goes on. state tv has been doing its bit to prop up the regime.
the leader accused al qaeda. >> this is international terrorism. do not listen. your sons should realize the magnitude and the gravity of what they are doing. >> irascible and unpredictable, he compared himself to the queen. >> there are people that have been in power longer than me, like the queen elizabeth of britain. and nothing happens to her. >> is hard to believe there is a revolution here. this is through the lens of state tv. others have also reported that the city is calm for now, but
one of his key henchmen has defected. the news is getting tighter. >> the situation is fluid and volatile. the picture they paint is pretty mixed with some towns under the control of the forces and others still being fought over. a day of mass protest is still being planned for tomorrow. he is looking increasingly desperate as he clings to power. >> thousands of foreign nationals are freeing libya -- fleeing libya. the british government has sent the worship, an increasing number of cities falling into anti-government hands.
our correspondent has sent this report. >> a passage of safety things to the royal navy. the word spread that it was a riding. some of them travel from the most remote desert compounds. there is an official here to stamp the passports. >> as they travel across some on certain libyan territory. they are delighted that the navy has come to rescue them. >> as they gather, they tell me their stories. >> we are making sure that we are not involved in any of the activities going on. >> we felt like we knew where we were.
there was heavy artillery fire. >> there was a makeshift weaponry. in the hospital, they are still treating the victims. this man was injured by stray ordnance left around the base. we found a british doctor that has come into the country. some of them were shot with heavy caliber rapidly -- weaponry. >> unspeakable. i would not expect that a human being would shoot another human
being with this size of the bullets. >> thousands of citizens have been clearing for evacuation on a series of ships. despite criticism of britain's slow response, the capt. insists they made all speed to get here. >> in that time from three days ago, we are headed to to embark extra personnel. i think it is a pretty fast response. as they come on board, there is a surge of relief. >> it is weird coming from a war zone to get on a british ship as an american. i never thought i would look at the union jack and say, it is really good to see the union jack.
>> in a few hours' time, they will be in malta. >> president obama has called the leaders of britain, france, and italy to discuss the response to the crisis. it can't be very encouraging that their meeting with the interior ministers. we have relations with these people and we have to bear in mind that they supply our energy. >> that is also something that president obama is thinking about. even though the u.s. imports no libyan oil itself, because of the risk to oil supplies to europe, china, and other parts of asia, it is driving up the price. gas prices are all very high in the u.s.. it is something that the americans are watching very closely.
president obama has said that he believes that with strategic reserves, it is possible for the u.s. to ride it out. there is another factor in this crisis that limits the response that the outside world is taking. so far, an international action, there is very little concrete hard action that will put real pressure. >> the white house is watching his statements, but what contact is there on the government level? >> all we know is that one of the senior state department officials has been talking to the libyan foreign minister. and broadly, that was the point
of his phone call. from the point of view of protestors and some critics, they think that it means that the outside world and the international community -- >> we spoke to a witness who said that every day for us is a year. what do you think the most likely outcome is in terms of action? >> things are moving incredibly quickly on the ground. both the u.s., britain, other countries that have nationals, they have made that their first priority, to get their nationals out. the americans are concerned about the possibility that they could leave their own citizens open to becoming targets and even becoming hostages.
that is their top priority at the moment, and it stops them putting in place harder action. they talk about suspending membership of libya to the human rights council. even if it is agreed on, it will not have any immediate effect. i don't think at the moment, there is any serious support for that. >> now joining me from albuquerque, new mexico, they have published several books and articles on libya. ambassadors, ministers, diplomats, army leaders. they are leaving, they are defecting. is that an indication that this is the beginning of the end? >> i think very much it is, certainly, there is the
defection of his cousin that has also been a senior military commander in the eastern part of the country, and a diplomat that has been abroad for decades. when someone like that defects, it is the beginning of the end for the entire regime. >> is there any way that this will end with him still in power? >> it is difficult to say with certainty, but it does not look like that is going to be possible. the revolution opposition movements have swept from east to west. a number of cities in, others seem to be uncertain who is in control. the opposition itself has not suffered a single defeat in its
moves to overthrow the regime. they continue to tighten the noose, so it appears to be just a matter of time before the entire regime falls. >> there are unconfirmed reports that he has threatened to blow up his own oil pipelines. that would be 1.6 million barrels a day. should we take that seriously? >> he has made some very delusional statements in the last few days. i think raising a question of just what the state of mind he really has been in. he has taken some pretty drastic steps to get his way, so nothing is beyond possibility. the one point i would make, 2/3 of the oil that is exported comes from the eastern part of the country. the area's largely under the control or the influence of the tribe that defected from the regime.
whether he really has the people in place to make good on that is very unclear and improbable. >> let's imagine he leaves. and there will be a huge vacuum. there is really no particularly strong civic organizations. what happens then? >> that is the big question. but we think will happen is that the tribal leadership was organized by the regime from the grass roots of the national level starting in 1993. we think the tribal leadership will come forward and try to place some sort of a mediating role to keep the violence from continuing and to get people to talk in terms of some sort of a coalition government that would lead them to the riding of a new constitution, and eventually, free and fair elections.
>> if you want to know who is keeping him in power, go on line and find analysis on the internal security apparatus. they are operating inside libya, all on the web site. the russian prime minister says that the price of oil poses a serious threat to the world economy. at one point, it touched nearly $120 a barrel. >> the russian prime minister arrives in a strong position. in north africa, it could make europe even more reliant. this is at a time our washer is arguing strongly against the energy market. even for russia, the price can
go too high. >> the price of oil, this is a serious threat to the economic growth of the world. this would have a negative effect on the russian economy as well. >> traders are also worried by warnings of oil price shock. white house chief economist tried to, markets suggesting that it would not hitch recovery. some analysts argue that the price is overblown. >> the market is discounting a further production outages, but you would have to have an number of countries completely showing down production including algeria, yemen, two or three
other medium-sized countries to get rid of that capacity. >> the capacity is mostly in saudi arabia. prices could yet to go into reverse. >> the headlines this hour, the libyan leader has blamed al qaeda for the uprising against him. the early under opposition control, thousands of foreigners have been evacuated. more on libya now. more on the control of the national terrorist regime. it is said to have complete control of the northeast. our diplomatic correspondent has
been assessing the situation. >> it is a battle of a country of a huge size and diplomatic control. tunisia to the west and egypt to the east. countries that have brought down their leaders in the past few weeks. it is over seven times the size of the united kingdom, but only 10% of the population. libyans live in the towns and cities close to the mediterranean coast with only a few cities to the south. after a week of increasingly bitter fighting, the east government has clearly fallen to the rebels. the green flag has been replaced by the old flag of the previous marquee.
the libyan army -- at the bloodiest battles are being fought. >> it is a much more patchy situation. >> who are the rebels? the short answer is, overwhelmingly, they are overwhelming -- ordinary people that have taken on the regime. there have been much talk of rival tribes or clans taking sides. while that is a factor, and efforts to encourage the tribal divisions seem to have failed. many of its members hold key
positions around him and his sons, particularly in the military forces and the special brigade that is his main weapon alongside and mercenaries from other african countries. >> what is next? the fight could it into very quickly if he chooses to flee. if not, there is a danger of prolonged and bloody fighting. a civil war with all of its terrible consequences. >> it was imposed by the algerian authorities in 1992 in order to suppress dissent by islamists. but the pressure groups have been calling it to be lifted. a saudi arabian national has been charged with the bombing plot potentially targeting the former president george w. bush. he was detained in texas on a
federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. more than 200 people remain unaccounted for in an earthquake that toppled buildings across the city on tuesday. more than a underbodies have been recovered, but no survivors have been found since the day after. how many people still require aid? i imagine the search efforts are still continuing, because it is turning to recovery operations? >> the official view is that the rescue operation is very much in full swing and will continue that way until such time that no one could have survived. it seems to be intensified. another research team is flying
in to join the international colleagues from australia, the united states, china, and japan. certainly in the center, we don't get the sense that the rescue effort is diminishing. but as time goes on, naturally, concerns are being raised that perhaps time is running out for anyone still clinging to life beneath the rubble. >> do experts give indication about how long someone might be able to survive trapped without water? >> we were just speaking to representatives of the japanese government, and they seem to believe that people might be able to survive up to seven days if not a bit longer. that is the view of a british search and rescue efforts. he was saying that normally, the cutoff point is five or six
days. three days after the earthquake, there is still a bit of room to maneuver for the rescue services. we have just been through the center of the city. when you see the scale of the devastation, it makes you wonder how anyone could have survived. people have been brought out, but as you say, it has been more than two days. one thing is for certain, this is a country of great resilience. no one has given up yet on the people that are missing. >> people have been told to leave if they could. >> many homes don't have a electricity. it continues to rattle the homes
under our feet. the official advice to people is if they don't need to be there, go somewhere else. >> the oldest of the u.s. space shuttle discovery is going on a very final mission. it is on its way to the international space station carrying supplies and a sophisticated robot. it is the first of three shuttles to be retired. >> we have main engine start. booster ignition, and the final left off of discovery, a tribute to the dedication, hard work, and pride of the american space shuttle team. >> this is the grand finale.
it went off without a hitch. the launch for one of the world's most accomplished space craft. after almost 150 million miles, a total of a year spent in orbit, this is the final mission for discovery, and it is a sentimental occasion. >> this is her 39 commission. we had quite a few left if the program had been extended, but it wasn't. it is bittersweet, but she will perform perfectly fine and bring the crew home safely. >> it is the oldest surviving shuttle in the fleet. it launched in 1984. >> the space shuttle discovery with the hubble space telescope. >> it carried the hubble telescope in space, its enduring image is changing the way we look at the universe.
it took the first american to orbit the earth and back into space at the age of 77. this is once again a visit to the international space station where the crew will drop off its newest resident. when discovery returns to earth, it will be decommissioned and sent to a museum where its place in the history of space exploration will be assured. there only are a couple more planned launches before it is retired for good. the end of an era and space travel. >> a slightly scorched soviet space capsule is going to be auctioned in new york. it is the fiftieth anniversary of the first mission into space. they carry the famous cosmonaut into orbit. it is expected to fetch a price of up to 10 million u.s. dollars.
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